Pathophysiology: Hepatitis refers to an inflammatory disease which is fairly common and mainly affects the liver. Viral hepatitis is classified as A, B, C, D, E and G. All types of hepatitis viruses cause similar kind of liver damage. Inflammation happens throughout whole liver and hepatocytes are destroyed by cytotoxic cytokines and natural killer cells being part of inflammatory process. Cellular necrosis takes place but liver usually able to repair itself and regain complete function if no other complications occur. Typically there are three phases of acute hepatitis: Prodromal phase, Icteric phase and Recovery phase.
Disease Statistics: In 2007, public health agency of Canada reported the prevalence of HCV in Canada to be 0.8%, with approximately 21% of cases unaware of their infection. Reported cases of HCV have declined in Canada in recent years. According to 2001 report, the incidence rate of clinically recognized, acute HBV infection in 1998/1999 was estimated to be 2.3/100,000 people or approximately 700 cases a year.
Treatment: Intravenous rehydration is given as supportive care but no specific emergency treatment is recommended as such. Patients are admitted in conditions of severe complications. Evaluation for hepatic encephalopathy is done. Certain patients may benefit from pharmacologic therapy. Patients are advised to avoid prolonged or vigorous physical exertion until their symptoms improve and maintain adequate hydration.
Research: Centre for Infectious Disease Prevention and Control, Health Canada, Ottawa and Public Health Agency of Canada are two leading centres in the country studying majorly on hepatitis treatment and prevention.